Within the Republican chaos lurks the ferment of change
#Republican #chaos #lurks #ferment #change Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
The author is CEO of American Compass
The unfolding spectacle of a disorganized US House of Representatives unable to elect a speaker should be commonplace. In every Congress, both the Republican and Democratic delegations are home to a number of radicals and characters who can wield more power and grab more headlines by playing spoilers from the start than they ever will in the normal course of House business . No candidate for speaker could hand out enough favors to get everyone to line up.
So how can a militant and attention-hungry band of politicians ever unite to achieve the absolute majority that a speaker needs? As the conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet famously observed: “People do not come together in meaningful and enduring relationships just to be together. They come together to do something that is not easily accomplished in individual isolation.” Anyone can create a controversy. But only a unified caucus can use its collective political power to achieve substantive goals.
Politicians who have dedicated their lives to gaining power within a political party generally do so partly for the sake of power, but also because they want their party to succeed and bring about the kind of change they are committed to use ideologically. These shared interests are what make political parties work and enable a legislature to work, to whatever extent it does.
The problem for the current Republican party is that they seem to have nothing to do. In 2020, it even declined to write a platform for its convention. In 2022, she struggled to offer a positive agenda. For many members, the incentive to work together and compromise is gone because it would do no good.
In the short term, the results may appear nihilistic – the so-called “Party of No”. But the long-term prognosis is more promising. The GOP does not refuse to offer an agenda, it is unable to produce one. What do the members of the party still agree on? They used to be the party of big business, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce. Many are now at war with those very constituencies.
Tax cuts no longer unify. When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy finally issued a pocket-sized “commitment to AmericaBefore the midterms, she didn’t mention any tax cuts. Strangerly, after Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell refused to present a medium-term agenda, Senator Rick Scott published “An 11-point plan to save America” with just one tax rule: a tax increase for most households. In response to widespread outrage, he re-released the plan (with the “11” on the cover literally crossed out and a “12” inserted), which now had a 12th item, “Tax Cuts,” which included no new tax cuts.
free trade? Maybe, maybe not. Deregulate, of course, unless you propose more regulation of technology, new drug price controls, stronger antitrust enforcement, and aggressive industrial policies. Restrict immigration or maybe expand it.
Admittedly, that might not sound very promising. But chaos is inevitable in the necessary process of destroying an outdated consensus and developing a new one. The best analogy comes from science. Thomas Kuhn made famous the concept of a “paradigm shift” in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Scientists and philosophers once believed that scientific knowledge evolved through incremental progress. Kuhn showed that the process was one of long static periods of “normal science” during which researchers worked mainly to validate their existing paradigm, punctuated by interruptions when an old paradigm failed and a new one emerged.
Likewise, in politics, innovative ideas harden into dogmas on which politicians and economists build their careers, fending off the heresy of new thinking until they render themselves so irrelevant to the challenges of the day that crisis ensues, then chaos, and then a better frame. The groundbreaking agenda that brought the Reagan revolution to Washington in the 1980s, itself a paradigm shift, had become obsolete dogma by the 2010s.
For a glimpse of the new paradigm, reach out to those offering solutions, like Senator Marco Rubio. He started the new year with me an essay in The American Conservative on the “transformation of the Republican Party into a multi-ethnic working class coalition”. He calls for “putting Wall Street in its place” and “rebalancing our economic relationship with China,” and discusses plans to “bring back critical industries” and “rebuild America’s workforce.” This coalition with such goals could establish a lasting governing majority. If this is the case, it will have no trouble choosing its speaker.